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Meeting the Great Bliss Queen: Buddhists, feminists and the art of the self
Despite the daunting barriers of geography and language that separate them, Buddhism and contemporary feminism have much to say to each other. Buddhist practices such as mindfulness (in which calm centering and keen awareness of change co-exist) and compassion (in which the self is recognized as both powerful in itself and interdependently connected with all others) can be important resources for contemprary women, while feminism can expand the traditional horizons of Buddhist concerns to include social, historical, and psychological issues. The image and ritual of the Great Bliss Queen, an important Buddhist figure of enlightenment, form the unifying theme of the book, modeling the practices and theory that can assist each of us in being at one with ourselves and fully engaged with others.
"Anne Klein's Meeting the Great Bliss Queen presents us with a new and welcomed approach to the conversation between Buddhism and feminist thought. With 'the self' and 'subjectivity' as its central themes, the work is a lively yet rigorous discussion of Buddhist textual traditions in light of contemporary feminist theory. At the same time there is an element of personal reflection in Klein's work that makes the book immediately approachable, and that contextualizes the scholarly material in a way that is rare in contemporary writing in the field of Buddhist studies. A work of great erudition and sensitivity. A must read for anyone interested in the dialogue between Buddhism and feminism." —José Ignacio Cabezón, Iliff School of Theology
"An astute and absorbing exploration of the interface between Buddhism and Feminist perspectives." —Tsultrim Allione, founder of Tara Mandala and author of Women of Wisdom
"A groundbreaking and important book. Klein is one of the few scholars in the Buddhist studies field who has devoted serious attention to the literature of Western feminism; likewise, her long experience in the field of Tibetan Buddhist study and practice provides her with the solid grounding necessary to speak for that tradition. The bringing together of these totally dissimilar worlds holds great promise for adding new insights to contemporary discussions of the nature of the self; indeed, it is difficult to imagine that the kind of conversation Klein proposes will not end by profoundly transforming the participants on both sides." —Jan Nattier, Indiana University
"This book is a breakthrough in feminist cross-cultural reflection on self and subjectivity. An eminent scholar of Tibetan Buddhist studies, Anne Klein has distilled twenty-five years of her rich research and personal experience in this compelling study. She succeeds in showing the current relevance of Buddhism to Western feminists without minimizing any of its challenge to certain notions about selfhood. The conversation constructed around the Great Bliss Queen is artful, elegant, and of importance to anyone interested in feminist theory, Buddhist religious philosophy in America, and different meanings of the self." —Nancy K. Frankenberry, Dartmouth College
"Takes on crucial issues and makes superb sense of them." —Sandy Boucher, author of Turning the Wheel: American Women Creating the New Buddhism
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Anne Carolyn Klein is professor and chair of Religious Studies at Rice University. She is also a founding director and resident teacher of Dawn Mountain, a center for contemplative study and practice in Houston. Her publications include Path to the Middle (SUNY Press); Unbounded Wholeness, co-authored with Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche (Oxford University Press); and Knowledge and Liberation (Snow Lion Publications).
1. Terms of Discussion:
Opening the Conversation and Meeting the Great Bliss
Persons then and now, here and then.
2. Practice and Theory
Mindfullness and Subjectivety.
Gain or Drain? Compassion and the Sel-Other Boundary.
Self One exists the other doesn't.
3. Women and the Great Bliss Queen.
Nondualism and the Great Bliss Queen
Becoming the Great Bliss Queen: Her ritual